Amandla Stenberg: 'I Was So Overcome With This Profound Sense of Relief When I Realized That I’m Gay'


Two years ago, Amandla Stenberg (Rue in The Hunger Games, star of Everything, Everything) came out as bisexual during a Snapchat takeover for Teen Vogue. In a new interview with Wonderland, chatting with up-and-coming singer/songwriter King Princess, Stenberg came out as gay, not bi—and reinforced a crucial conversation of sexuality not only as a spectrum, but something fluid.

There are so many brilliant moments to pull from but I’ll limit it to just a few—like when Stenberg was asked about “the Gay Sob”:

“I had a few big Gay Sob moments when I realized I was gay. One might assume that they were mournful sobs, but actually quite the opposite in my lived experience. They were joyful and overwhelmed sobs – socialization is a bitch and a half and kept me from understanding and living my truth for a while. I was so overcome with this profound sense of relief when I realized that I’m gay—not bi, not pan, but gay—with a romantic love for women. All of the things that felt so internally contrary to my truest self were rectified as I unravelled a long web of denial and self deprivation.
Like oh, maybe there’s a reason why I kissed my best friends and felt ashamed growing up. Or watched lesbian porn and masturbated (and more) with my friends at sleepovers. Or stifled a scream of horror the first time I saw a penis and had to convince myself with much internal strife that I was enjoying what was going down. Or could only find attraction towards gay men and femme boys who damn near had the sensibility of a woman. Or developed earth shattering, all consuming crushes on… GIRLS! I was flooded with a sense of calm and peace because everything that I struggled with or felt discomfort around finally made sense to me, and once those floodgates opened and years of pent up pain and shame were released, I found the freedom to live my best life waiting for me just underneath.”

And if identity can interact with creative work:

“Identity is transient and ever- shifting, shaped by our realities and relative to our environments. I think it’s a lens through which we navigate the world, and so it is inevitable that as I grow and change my experiences of life and love permeate the art that I make.”

Stenberg has positioned herself a voice for young people of marginalized identities, those who feel voiceless, and that continues in this interview: an open and candid conversation on sexuality and culture at large. Read it in full here.

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